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help with SD card player for live performance after using minidisc for years

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  • help with SD card player for live performance after using minidisc for years

    Hope everyone is ok.

    Haven't posted for ages, but you guys always helped me in the past so I am hoping your knowledge and experience can help me again............

    I use backing tracks - real piano, light drums and double bass for my jazz act.
    I have been using Tascam MD 350 to play them on minidisc.All are recorded as wav. All are originally on a master CD and saved into my PC as wav files.
    I mainly play restaurants and in small spaces so I am almost on top of the mixer and disc player rack and it has always been easy to just use the scroll/jog knob to move from track to track.
    My players have given me excellent service - 3-4 gigs a week over 18/20 years.
    Now I am starting to get TOC reading slowly and sometimes refusing to read at all,
    the occasional disc error and once recently a track paused itself mid song. Embarrassing.
    I have kept the lens clean and I swap to new discs after a while.
    Tascam repair say my lens unit on one player needs replacing and the other is on its last legs. The repair will be approx £250

    So, as minidiscs are no longer made and I am a little tired of being restricted to a limited amount of tracks on each disc I have bought Tascams SD -20M to play my backing tracks on instead.
    Cheaper than repairing the MD's.
    I've only got the player today and haven't read all the manual yet. So I don't know if I can just copy and paste each wav track from my PC onto the SD card and push it in and play - but

    my first concern is the display.
    It is very small and not as clear as the minidisc displays.

    So I want to pick everyone's brains regarding the Tascam remote control RC-10 and the footswitch RC-3F which are made to be used with SD-20mM

    I will need to pause my track at the end of performing the song, but the pause length will differ depending on whether i chat between tracks etc. I will need to go to another track and have it paused ready to start.
    So - would this recommended footswitch be better or would the hand remote thing be better?
    Both approx £38-45 to buy.
    Anyone using any of these models?
    And what do you use to clip them to your mic stand or music stand pole, please?
    I thought maybe a Tablet holder with a clip to rest the remote on - but would love to hear from anyone using this kit and learn about their experiences.
    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    These days... higher resolution mp3's and a phone or tablet might be a good direction. No moving parts. Just a thought.


    • #3
      I'm with Florida Frailer, if it's not too late to take the Tascam back... rendering your .wav files into mp3 at a higher bitrate (128 kbs is normal; i use 192 and i think i can hear a difference) and using a mobile device has MANY advantages:
      - large, configurable display
      - easy backup
      - self contained (eliminates shuffling through the box of SD cards)

      AND when you get old like me, it'll show you the LYRICS!


      • #4
        and an Airturn....
        "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

        Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting ', what a ride!'

        "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

        Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick


        • #5
          Hi Susie nice to see you back. Re your post got agree with the above. It feels like someone coming on and asking about where to get a good replacement loose leaf folder for their lyrics. 😁
          MP3 all the way.
          Cheers Steve


          • #6
            Originally posted by steve mac View Post
            Hi Susie nice to see you back. Re your post got agree with the above. It feels like someone coming on and asking about where to get a good replacement loose leaf folder for their lyrics. 😁
            MP3 all the way.
            I'm only just moving on from Minidisc, remember, so I'm still in the Cretaceous period!
            Loose leaf folder is highly advanced to me!!!!!

            Budget's a bit tight now I just bought this SD card player.
            I've bought the Tascam now, so I'm stuck with it.
            I play Standards [Ella Fitzgerald stuff] and usually play only 2 x 45 minute sets.
            So we're looking at approx 80/90 tracks which are the repertoire mainly used.

            They'd all be on one SD card - and of course I'd have a couple of back up copy SD cards with me.
            I'll probably divide the 80/90 into folders on the card, so I wouldn't be 'shuffling through' a box of cards.

            The foot pedal Tascam sell looks like the same kind of idea as the Airturn daddymack just mentioned. So I think I'll go with their foot pedal.

            The display on the deck is tiny though - so if it becomes a nightmare and I have to think again, what Tablets do you recommend, please?

            I'd rather avoid Apple if possible.
            Is there an alternative that you guys recommend?

            I wouldn't need the tablet as an autocue, just to trigger the tracks from.



            • daddymack
              daddymack commented
              Editing a comment
              most android tablets will work, but get teh 10 inch [I tried a 7 inch and it was just too danged small to read from at any distance, but okay when I was right up close...but that isn't how my solo show works...I'm usually fairly animated. I've been tempted to use my netbook proved too small as well [sux being old and too vain to wear glasses onstage]
              So guess who is still using a book? Actually, I have a setlist, and then some pages where I'm liable to forget verse orders...only a few...but I prefer to work with a safety net as a solo.
              Solo work has slowed again, but I am planning a new tablet and an airturn, but I'm piecing together a new project, which is a revamp of an old duo, but as a band.

          • #7
            I've been using a laptop for 12 years which means you don't need a brand new laptop for music playback. I always take being able to see song titles into consideration when buying stand alone mp3 players. And yes, pausing between songs is absolutely needed. I just hit the space bar to pause.

            Sorry, I don't know anything about the Tascam.


            • #8
              Thank you Gentlemen.
              The Tascam basically is like a Tascam minidisc deck - rack mounted - but uses SD card instead of minidisc - and therefore you don't have to keep switching from one minidisc to another if the track you decide to play isn't on the disc you have in the player at the time because the SD cards hold tons more..
              It has a scroll dial - like the minidisc - but the display is a wee bit smaller. It may be ok in a gig situation but looking at it at home - it might be a problem.

              I have a Samsung Galaxy Tablet which I just use for personal stuff but maybe I could use that?
              It only has a tiny socket - not a big and meaty USB though.
              No room for a laptop [thanks Bob Dey - hope you are well]

              So how do you cable your tablets via your mixers then, please?

              PS - Im currently getting all the volumes of the tracks as equal as I can [well, a friend is doing that for me] ready to put onto the SD cards.
              So I haven't tried the new player yet.


              • daddymack
                daddymack commented
                Editing a comment

            • #9
              Definitely try loading your songs to the Samsung. You can play them back with itunes or similar app. You can use the headphone jack to connect to your mixer with a 3.5mm (minijack). If you get the Samsung and Tascam both working, you'll have a back up in case either goes south.

              You'll probably need to connect the Samsung to a computer to upload songs. You'll have to find out what USB cord fits the Samsung. Wishing you the best Susie


              • #10
                Thanks guys.
                I have copied and pasted tracks onto the Samsung.
                I connected it via headphone socket to the mixer and it sounded very low volume. I only ran it through a little monitor [not the full PA] but I also ran the SD card through the same set up and the tracks sounded louder. Monitor volume was at the same setting for both formats.

                Will try all through the full PA soon.
                As Bob says, I can use the Tablet as a back up in case there's a prob with the SD player..

                I have patiently gone into the 'Properties' of every track I will use for gigs and retyped the titles in Uppercase letters before I copied and pasted them to the SD card.
                That's made a big difference to the display. It was time consuming but so was filling a new minidisc with tracks.

                And I found a magic little button that displays two tracks at a time in larger letters.

                I also had a closer look at the Remote control and the foot switch - and they only allow me to move one track at a time backwards or forwards - so they are a waste of money because they only do what the jog function on the deck does. If only they had numbers 0-9 on them!!!

                What I have decided to do is to divide my songs into Folders on the SD card. each folder has only 10 or 12 tracks within it. So jogging forwards within a folder won't take long, and switching from one folder to another takes less time than it would to eject a minidisc, insert another disc and wait for it to read its TOC.
                So, I think I have sussed the thing out.

                The problem that remains is the annoyingly tiny display screen.
                But I do like having the player in the rack under the mixer.

                Thanks again all for your help.

                I do love coming to this Forum to get the benefit of your combined wisdom and expertise.
                Last edited by SusieP; 09-17-2018, 12:50 PM.


                • #11
                  Hi Susie. Gonna sound like a broken record here, but Music Folder Player is the app to get. It has adjustable fonts, adjustable EQ and depending on your tablet is hard to crash. I am using the inexpensive Galaxy Tab E. I have tried 25 to 40 (or maybe more) players and Music Folder Player is the only one that easily stops the track after playback (musician mode) and has all the bells and whistles - like reverse display (white on black, very easy to read). My display font is set to is huge, because I have coke bottle glasses and don't wanna wear them on stage.

                  This app has saved the day for me. I have over four hundred MP3's in current rotation and it's easy to get to them all.

                  Mixer: again I'm like a broken record but the Mackie ProDX8 is more manna from heaven. Assuming I have my tablet charged I just Bluetooth everything; mixer, and MP3's. No wires from my tablet to anywhere. Bluetooth with this devices is usually very robust, depending on your tablet. It is aimed at solo artist who normally don't have a ton of PA experience. Many solo artists have made favourable comments regarding my Mackie - and I don't normally like like Mackie. But FX, GEQ, compression L/R and two auxes, what's not to like? Plus you can save up to three scenes for repeat gigs.